We're dealing with yet another personhood amendment here in Colorado this year. Amendment 62 is essentially a slightly beefed up version of an amendment defeated in 2008 by a margin of 73% to 27%. Hopefully we'll have just as much support this time around, especially since this one would stretch the definition of a person much more than the original to include stem cell research and in-vitro fertilization.
The specifics of this amendment and the controversy surrounding it shed some light on the way the anti-choice movement uses false information and what they're really all about.
Recently the 2010 Colorado Ballot Information Booklet (or Blue Book) was published. This book is provided by the state of Colorado to provide a fair and impartial analysis of each initiated or referred constitutional amendment, law or question on the ballot.
Personhood Colorado, an offshoot of Personhood USA and one of the main groups lobbying for amendment 62, has filed a lawsuit against the Legislative Council of the General Assembly alleging that the Blue Book used false statements and was not fair and impartial as is required by Colorado law.
They claim that none of their arguments were used for the pro side and the arguments presented for the con side were factually inaccurate.
At the Abortion Gang blog, we point out examples of anti-choicers using made up and/or skewed facts to promote their side on a regular basis. Amendment 62 is yet another example of anti-choice lies backed up by the Legislative Council of the General Assembly.
The lawsuit states "the ballot information booklet is, in effect, one big argument against Amendment 62." Could this be because there are no legitimate arguments for passing amendment 62 other than it being a ruse to do away with reproductive freedom?
I tried to find the pro-62 arguments that Personhood Colorado gave to the council but was unable to. I did however find the points that they claim are false in the anti-62 arguments.
According to Personhood Colorado's Scare Tactics Page the following include some of the misinformation being presented in the blue book.
It won’t ban contraception - They claim that the statement that amendment 62 will ban contraception is wrong because the term contraception has been skewed to include hormonal birth control methods. Since Personhood Colorado believes that hormonal birth control isn't actually a contraception, they claim the statement is false. The fact still remains that amendment 62 will outlaw all forms of birth control other than barrier methods.
It won’t ban or penalize in vitro fertilization - However, it will totally remake the program so that clinics can no longer create extra embryos making the process more difficult and much more expensive.
It won’t threaten the death penalty on doctors who do legitimate invasive surgery that could unintentionally harm a child in the womb - First, I don't know where they came up with the death penalty addition here. The blue book actually states that doctors can be penalized, not put to death. According to Personhood Colorado, "in those extremely rare situations where a woman needs treatment that might unintentionally result in the death of the child, the doctor would not have acted with intent to kill or even harm the child, but with intent to cure the mother." My question is how do they expect that this can be regulated? Since PC considers these instances rare, if a doctor preforms too many of these procedures will they then be investigated or penalized?
It won’t open the door to criminal investigations of women who miscarry - Just like the situation above, I wonder how this will be regulated. Again, if a woman has too many miscarriages will she then be put through an investigation?
So, in a nutshell this is what I got from the scare tactics page:
- All forms of birth control other than barrier methods will be outlawed
- In-Vitro Fertilization will be revamped, making it more difficult and more expensive
- Women who miscarry and doctors providing legal medical procedures could be open to legal investigations
- Ectopic pregnancies can be terminated with no new regulations
- Abortion will be made illegal
- Chemical "abortifacients" will be made illegal, and because antis (wrongly) consider hormonal birth control an abortifacient, this makes hormonal birth control illegal
- Human embryonic stem cell research will be made illegal
So, What's the Real Motivation?
If amendment 62 is passed, we will still have a case of the inalienable rights of a woman versus the inalienable rights of the fetus. And since it's the fetus that requires the use of the woman's body to live, the woman should have the right to maintain her bodily autonomy.
The fact that anti-choicers aren't fighting the rights of parents to refuse to give blood, bone marrow, organs, etc to save the life of their child once it's born, is a strong indicator that it's really not about the life of the child for them, but rather punishing women for being sexually active.
A Bonus Dose of Racism from Personhood USA
And as an added bonus, here's a really disturbing and problematic statement from Keith Mason, the President for Personhood USA during the amendment 62 debate.
I think it's important to note with the term fertilized egg, that's the same thing as using the N-word for an African American, because it's a dehumanizing term and it's not based in science. The term would be a zygote, or an embryo, speaking of a unique individual.
Learn More About Amendment 62
- Amendment 62: Colorado to Vote on Whether Fertilized Eggs Are People (Again) at Big Think
- Colorado Fetal Personhood, Amendment 62 (2010) at Ballotpedia
- Personhood initiative lining up friends and foes at the Colorado Independent
- Buck changes stance on personhood amendment at 9news.com
(Cross posted at the abortion gang)